Our Council and senior managers
Our chair is Mr Andrew Connolly and the deputy chair is Ms Laura Mueller. Joan Simeon is our chief executive officer.
Mr Andrew B Connolly
MB ChB 1987 Auckland, FRACS 1994
Appointed to Council in November 2009, Mr Connolly was elected deputy chairperson of Council in February 2012 and chairperson in February 2014. Mr Connolly was re-elected as chairperson in February 2015, February 2016, and again in February 2017.
Mr Connolly is a general and colorectal surgeon, employed full time at Counties Manukau District Health Board.
Trained in Auckland, Mr Connolly undertook a formal 18-month period of surgical research under Professor G L Hill before completing post-fellowship colorectal training in the United Kingdom. He returned to Middlemore Hospital as a consultant surgeon in late 1997.
He has a strong interest in governance and clinical leadership and has been the Head of Department of General and Vascular Surgery since 2003. He has served on the Ministerial advisory group that was responsible for the ‘In Good Hands’ document. In 2015 he has also served on the Ministry Capability and Capacity Review of the Health Sector
Mr Connolly has served on various national committees, including the New Zealand Guidelines Group for the screening of patients with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
He has previously held the role of Presiding Member of the Lotteries Health Research Distribution Committee, and recently chaired a Ministerial review of the impact of the elective waiting times policy, and was a member of the review panel of the New Zealand Cancer Registry.
He has a strong interest in surgical education and training, and acute surgical care, as well as taking an active role with surgical research into enhanced recovery. He has a passion for military history, particularly World War 1.
Dr T. Lu'isa Fonua-Faeamani
MBChB 1998 Otago, FRNZCGP 2007
Appointed July 2014
Dr Lu'isa Fonua-Faeamani is a general practitioner (GP) and clinical director for The Fono - Health and Social Services based in West Auckland. The Fono provides affordable healthcare services including medical, dental, pharmacy, health awareness and community support services and delivers a combination of these services across four Auckland locations.
She has worked with Pacific health providers in central and west Auckland as a GP providing care for this high needs population.
Dr Fonua-Faeamani graduated from Otago Medical School in 1998. She returned to Tonga for 3 years to work at Vaiola Hospital and was posted to the outer island of 'Eua as the only doctor for 8 months before returning to New Zealand for advanced training.
Dr Fonua-Faeamani is particularly interested in Pacific health and the development of Pacific GPs and the Pacific primary health workforce.
Dr Fonua-Faeamani is a member of Council’s Health Committee.
Dr Jonathan E M Fox
MB BS 1974 Lond, MRCS Eng LRCP Lond 1974, MRCGP 1981, FRNZCGP 1998
Dr Fox is a general practitioner (GP) based in Auckland. He is a past president of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and immediate past chair of the Council of Medical Colleges in New Zealand. He is a board member of ProCare Health Limited, the Auckland Independent Practitioners Association. He is also a member of various charitable and research trusts in the Auckland region.
His previous positions included membership of the Board and GP Council of the NZMA, Competence Advisory Team of the Medical Council, Medical Officer to Kings College Auckland, and many RNZCGP Auckland Faculty positions.
Dr Fox qualified from Guys Hospital Medical School, London, in 1974. He then spent seven years working as a medical officer in the Royal Navy, before completing his vocational training in the United Kingdom (UK). After leaving the Navy he spent 8 years as a general practitioner in Rugby, UK, where he was also Medical Officer to Rugby School.
He came to New Zealand in 1990 with his GP wife and children. Over the last 19 years their practice has grown and is now a five-doctor practice in Meadowbank, Auckland.
Dr Fox has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Dr Pamela Hale
MBChB Otago 1982, FRACP 1991
Dr Hale was appointed to the Council in July 2015.
She graduated from Otago University in 1982 and completed medical training in various hospitals around New Zealand including Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton and Dunedin, and a brief stint in the United Kingdom while travelling, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP) in 1991.
For many years, Dr Hale worked part-time while busy with her family.
Dr Hale has been a specialist physician in Nelson for 23 years developing the diabetes and endocrinology service, and has had various other roles including being an intern supervisor. She is currently Head of the Department of Medicine and Clinical Senior Lecturer for The University of Otago with respect to the Nelson trainee interns in medicine.
Dr Hale has always been interested in professionalism and ethical behaviour and has led annual tutorials on this with the junior doctors.
Her interests include acute general medicine and the holistic management of Type 1 diabetes, and outside of work, her family.
Dr Hale is Chairperson of Council's Health Committee.
B.A., LL.B, G.Dip. Bus Studs, M.Mgt, QC
Ms Hughes was a partner in the New Plymouth law firm of Govett Quilliam for 18 years, leaving in 2006 to commence practice at the independent Bar. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2007 and continues her practice in New Plymouth.
Her practice is a broad based litigation practice spanning diverse jurisdictions of the Courts.
Ms Hughes has held a number of Government appointments over the years most recently she was a Director of CAA and AVSEC from 2004 to 2011.
Ms Hughes has now practised law for in excess of 30 years, such practice has honed her interest in matters of process and the effective resolution of disputes.
Dr Paul Hutchison
MB ChB 1970 Otago, MRCOG 1978, FRANZCOG 1983, Dip. Com. Health
Dr Paul Hutchison graduated from the University of Otago in 1970 and was appointed to Council in May 2017.
He spent time doing postgraduate work at Case Western Reserve University in the United States, National Women’s Hospital in Auckland, Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England, and was a clinical lecturer for the University of London at St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London.
He also undertook medical and general practice work in Papua New Guinea, Western Samoa and the United Arab Emirates.
Dr Hutchison qualified as a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and became a consultant at National Women’s Hospital, and North Shore Hospital during the 1980s and 1990s.
He has held executive positions in the New Zealand Obstetric Society, New Zealand Medical Association and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Dr Hutchison actively chaired a committee to bring caesarean sections facilities to the North Shore where previously women had to be transported across the harbour bridge!
He was a senior partner and founder of the Artemis Medical and Surgical Centre on the North shore and was chair of the innovative fertility department which carried out new technologies including
in vitro fertilisation or IVF embryo transplants.
Dr Hutchison became Member of Parliament for Port Waikato, then Hunua from 1999-2014.
He chaired Parliament’s Health Select Committee from 2008-2014. During that time he initiated, ’an inquiry into improving child health outcomes and preventing child abuse with a focus from preconception until 3 years of age,’ which continues to have an influence on health and social policy formation. Dr Hutchison was also a member other committees including the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.
In 2014, Dr Hutchison received the New Zealand Medical Association Chair’s Award for making ‘an outstanding contribution to health in New Zealand’
That year, he left Parliament and regained his medical registration.
Dr Hutchison currently works in a high needs South Auckland general practice. He holds a number of directorships and is a trustee of Entrust, the majority shareholder of Vector.
He has a wide number of interests that include family, gardening, sport, music, politics, bees and honey.
Ms Laura Mueller
BA Psych (Calif) 1992, Juris Doctor (Calif) 1996
Ms Laura Mueller
BA Psych (Calif) 1992, Juris Doctor (Calif) 1996
Ms Laura Mueller, a lay member of the Council was elected the Council’s new deputy chair person in February 2014.
Ms Mueller is a lay member who was appointed as a judicial officer for the Ministry of Justice in 1999 and sits as a Referee in the Disputes Tribunal at the Tauranga District Court. Ms Mueller has 20 years of business experience, including management of a large accounting and tax practice and experience as a medical insurance underwriter.
With a keen interest in governance and leadership, Ms Mueller has served on the Disputes Tribunal’s National Education Committee for more than 7 years. She has served as treasurer on the Disputes Tribunal’s Referees Association Executive and is a mentor for new Referees.
Ms Mueller was appointed to the Medical Council in October 2009 and is a member of the Council’s Complaints Triage Team, as well as being a member of the Council’s Audit, Education and Health Committees.
Ms Mueller is Deputy Chairperson of Council's Health Committee.
Professor John Nacey
MB ChB 1977 Otago, FRACS 1985, MD 1987 (Otago), MBA
Professor Nacey graduated from the University of Otago in 1977. After completing specialist training in urology, which included an appointment as Chief Resident in Surgery at the Flinders University Medical Centre Adelaide, Australia, he returned to New Zealand to take up a joint hospital/university position in Wellington. In 1998, he was appointed Dean and Head of Campus at the University of Otago’s Wellington School of Medicine, a position he held for 10 years.
With an interest in prostate disease, Professor Nacey has published extensively on this subject. He acts as referee for several major international journals and has chaired the recent Government Taskforce on prostate cancer. As past examiner for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons he has maintained his interest in teaching undergraduate medical students and postgraduate surgical trainees.
Professor Nacey currently holds the position of Professor of Urology at the Wellington School of Medicine.
He has widespread community involvement including the position of President of the Wellington Medical Research Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Management. He remains a strong advocate for promoting men’s health.
Professor Nacey is chairperson of the Council’s Education Committee.
Ms Ngārimu is a director of Tāua Limited, a consulting company specialising in the provision of public policy and management advice, and relationships with iwi and Māori communities.
She held the position of Deputy Secretary Policy with Te Puni Kōkiri from March 2007 until December 2013.
Ms Ngārimu has also held positions as Acting Chief Executive, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and as the Acting Director for the Waitangi Tribunal.
Following the completion of her university studies, Ms Ngārimu worked for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou, gaining a solid grounding in Māori community dynamics and aspirations. Following this, she first joined Te Puni Kōkiri in 1992, and until 1999 working in various senior management, policy management and regional roles. She left Te Puni Kōkiri in 1999 to take up a Sector Manager role at the Office of the Controller and Auditor General.
In the seven years before re-joining Te Puni Kōkiri, Ms Ngārimu continued to build her experience in policy, strategic management, business and governance, through her co-directorship of her management and public policy consulting company.
Ms Ngārimu is a member of Council’s Health Committee.
Ms Ngārimu tribal affiliation is Te Aitanga ā Mate, Ngāti Porou.
Dr Martin Searle
BM 1976 Soton, MRCP (UK) 1980, FRACP 1990
Dr Martin Searle was appointed to Council in August 2017 by the Minister of Health.
Dr Martin Searle recently retired as a nephrologist with Canterbury District Health Board (1998-2015) where he was also Chair of the Mortality Review Committee and Member of the Credentials Board.
He continues locum practice as a nephrologist in Australia and New Zealand.
Dr Searle graduated in the first class from the new Southampton University Medical School in 1976 and undertook physician training in nephrology and general medicine in the Wessex Region.
He came to New Zealand in 1987 as the first full time nephrologist with the then South Auckland Health.
While working at Middlemore Hospital, Dr Searle chaired the Division of Medicine, Senior Medical Staff Association, New Zealand Nephrology Group, Renal Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Health and was a Member of Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology Council.
Dr Searle was awarded Fellowship on the basis of his overseas qualifications. Soon after, he organised the first Fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ clinical examination at Middlemore Hospital followed by 20 years as a Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) examiner. His roles with the New Zealand branch of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) included Chair of Committee of Exams, Board of Censors and RACP President for New Zealand.
He helped formulate RACP’s advice to the Medical Council of New Zealand on the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, and processes of assessment of overseas trained physicians (OTPs). In addition, he advised the Parliamentary Select Committee when it considered moving responsibility for assessing OTPs from Medical Council of New Zealand to the New Zealand Education Authority.
Dr Searle has been a member of the Medical Council of New Zealand’s Performance Assessment Committee and has carried out a number of individual assessments for the Council.
Dr Searle is a hobby farmer who lives in rural Canterbury with his wife (a general practitioner) and three children.
Dr Curtis Walker
MB ChB 2007 Auckland, FRACP 2015
Dr Walker was elected to Council in 2015.
Ko Whakatōhea rāua ko Ngāti Porou ngā iwi.
Formerly a veterinarian, Dr Walker retrained in human medicine and qualified from Auckland in 2007. He started work as a House Officer at Waikato hospital and commenced internal medicine training there before moving to Palmerston North and Wellington to complete his Fellowship in nephrology (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians) in 2015.
During his time as a resident doctor, he was President of the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) for 5 years, and also served on the board of the Māori Medical Practitioners Association (Te ORA). These roles reflect the strong commitment that Dr Walker has to improving health outcomes for Māori and to supporting doctors during the long and challenging years spent in specialist training.
He commenced work as a renal and general physician in 2015 at MidCentral DHB and loves living in Palmerston North with his wife and two young children.
Senior management team
Chief Executive Officer
Joan was appointed Chief Executive in December 2017, having spent the past 14 years in various senior operational and strategic roles at Council.
Her most recent position was Strategic Programme Manager, responsible for developing and implementing the Council’s strategic directions and plans.
Significant projects Joan has undertaken during this time include managing the review of prevocational medical training in 2011, which has since led the implementation of changes focused on improving the quality of education and training for interns. This work included developing the New Zealand Curriculum Framework, creating an electronic portfolio to record an intern’s learning and provide guidance for addressing their development needs, and training for clinical supervisors.
More recently, Joan’s work has been focused on promoting the competence of, and collegial support for, vocationally registered doctors. This includes strengthening recertification programmes to ensure that doctors maintain and continue to improve their standard of medical practice. She has also been leading a project to develop a cultural competence framework in an effort to improve cultural safety for patients.
Joan has previously held the role of Council’s Registration Manager, where she managed the development of policy following the implementation of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003), the legislation under which all health regulatory authorities in New Zealand function.
In 2017, Joan was keynote speaker at the Australia and New Zealand Prevocational Medical Education Forum in Brisbane and also presented at the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA).
Joan has recently completed a Masters in Public Management through Victoria University of Wellington, focusing her study on the health sector. Joan also has a post-graduate qualification in Business Studies from Massey University.
David Dunbar is the Council’s Registrar and a qualified lawyer. In June 2016 he was elected as Wellington Branch President of the New Zealand Law Society
Before joining the Medical Council, David was the Registrar at the Dental Council of New Zealand. David was heavily involved with the development and implementation of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 in his role as a senior analyst with the Ministry of Health. Prior to this, David was an Adviser on Regulatory Services with the Business Improvement Group at Wellington City Council and before that worked for 12 years as Senior Parliamentary Officer with activities including legislative drafting.
David is the author of "Health Practitioners (Reissue 1)": A title in the Laws of New Zealand series (LexisNexis)